If you’re so desperately frightened that even the most rudimentary education and awareness of a larger world will drive people away from your religion, then maybe it’s not one worth much consideration and should be left to die out.
KARACHI, Pakistan — At the age of 11, Malala Yousafzai took on the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As turbaned fighters swept through her town in northwestern Pakistan in 2009, the tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education — she wanted to become a doctor, she said — and became a symbol of defiance against Taliban subjugation.
On Tuesday, masked Taliban gunmen answered Ms. Yousafzai’s courage with bullets, singling out the 14-year-old on a bus filled with terrified schoolchildren, then shooting her in the head and neck. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack. All three survived, but late on Tuesday doctors said that Ms. Yousafzai was in critical condition at a hospital in Peshawar, with a bullet possibly lodged close to her brain.
A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone that Ms. Yousafzai had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.”
“She has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it,” Mr. Ehsan said, adding that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.”
So in the eyes of the Taliban, a girl daring to educate herself so she can become something more than the unwilling wife of someone four times her age and a baby factory soon after is an “obscenity”.
Calling for her murder because she is showing the world exactly how backwards and oppressive you people are is not.
Seriously, “let this be a lesson”? The problem for you idiots is that it is becoming a lesson, but not in the way you want it. Ever since your daring strike into the heart of Western decadence on Tuesday where some of your goons walked onto a crowded bus and shot her in the head, virtually all of Pakistan is united against you.
Mr. Hussain [the information minister] announced a government reward of more than $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of her attackers. “Whoever has done it is not a human and does not have a human soul,” he said.
Across the rest of the country, Pakistanis reacted with outrage to the attack on the girl, whose eloquent and determined advocacy of girls’ education had made her a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology.
“Malala is our pride. She became an icon for the country,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.
The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited the Peshawar hospital where Ms. Yousafzai was being treated; in a rare public statement he condemned the “twisted ideology” of the “cowards” who had attacked her. Her parents and a teacher from her school remained at her side in the hospital.
While the public opinion of the Taliban is clearly against them, it’s not clear whether there’s enough military strength and will to be able to root them out. If not, these kids of incidents are going to continue until the public forces the issue beyond the government’s ability to contain it. We may be able to provide assistance to help them achieve that goal, but in the end the push has to come from within. Otherwise it can be used by the Taliban as a way to convince even the more moderate members of society that this is all a Western ploy to exert undue influence in the region by killing those whose ideologies we oppose.
Still, it doesn’t change the fact that there are people in the world today who still feel that women and girls have no right to educate themselves because a book written centuries ago by some guy with an agenda said so. In some cases, even the men aren’t allowed to go to school because it might give them enough ability to think on their own to realize that everything they’ve been blindly following for years is total crap.
Here’s a helpful hint to determine whether your religion is any good: how much do the people in charge – the clerics, priests, rabbis … whomever – encourage you to go out on your own, study everything you can get your hands on, read as many books as you can find, go to school, get degrees in physics, biology, math, etc., so you have the ability to critically analyze everything you’re told with a rational, skeptical mind? How many are willing to change the tenets of their faith if the conclusions of the scientific community prove them wrong?
The severity of their reaction should give a good indicator of how much they’re counting on your ignorance and blind obedience.